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From music to museums, Quintron and Miss Pussycat prove puppets and weird instruments make great art


Chris Parker July 15th, 2010

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Quintron and Miss Pussycat with Gangstarr Museum
9 p.m. Wednesday, July 21
Opolis
113 N. Crawford, norman
www.opolis.org
447-3417
$10 advance, $12 door
$12 advance, $14 door under 21

Some artists are bound for the pop charts; others " with a less disposable bent " are bound for a museum.

But in Quintron and Miss Pussycat's case, it's not Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but New Orleans Museum of Art. The duo recently finished an exhibit titled "Parallel Universe," showcasing both sides of their impetuous theatrical multimedia extravaganza.

The two met 16 years ago, when Quintron, on his first solo tour, played her club, Pussycat Caverns, with his clamorous, iconoclastic, one-man keyboard-based rock show. He described the attraction as "instantaneous." Before long, he joined Miss Pussycat in New Orleans, and their individual interests in music and puppetry were channeled into a live performance that's more variety show than concert.

The recent NOMA exhibit explored these twin passions with a retrospective featuring her extensive collection of puppets, and her short films and videos that feature them. Quintron sat behind a pane of glass nearby, in a sound booth wherein he wrote his entire next album, which translated from French, is tentatively titled "Sugar of the Savages."

He blithely dismissed questions about the difficulty of creating before watchful eyes. After all, isn't that what he does? No big deal, right?

"It was a big deal. I couldn't have been more wrong. It sucked," Quintron said. "I had my back to people, but most people's assumption was they walk into a room, they don't read any of the signs, or really acquaint themselves with what's going on. The first thing they do when they see a person sitting there, is they look at you and wait for you to entertain them. It was really, really disturbing. I wanted to disappear."

Fortunately, he was able to secure access to the space during the museum's off-hours. As a result, he spent more time working on this disc than any before.

"Everybody says that their last record's their best record, and time will tell what people like best, but I think it's really strong one song to the next," Quintron said. "It's kind of a concept record. It has a running theme. 'Sugar for the Savages' is like an ode to the intoxicating natural world we live in. In a way, it's the Quintron exotica opus, and it's a very schizophrenic album or it's bipolar. There's two very distinct parts."

One side of the album will be an "exotic ambient journey through the swamps of City Park," and the other features songs. It's somewhat reminiscent 2004's "The Frog Tape," which backed noisy, organ-driven, garage-psych freak-outs with 14 minutes of Louisiana swamp frogs. But rest assured, the theme isn't about being under society's microscope.

"I didn't want to make an album about my anxiety recording in the museum. I tried to write around that. Of course, it informed it in some weird way," he said. "I had other things on my plate that I needed to address that I felt were more important."

Quintron is about to embark on another project. He's at a retreat in Canada for a couple days, where an arts center is sponsoring an odd collaboration.

"They're flying in this engineer, who's recording Weezer's new album, another dude who's worked as a session guitarist for Tom Waits, and all these big-shot guys, and you can do whatever you want," he said.

There's one small problem: "We just finished this new record, and so, unfortunately, we don't have any new stuff to do. So I don't know what I'm going to do." "Chris Parker
 
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